Morality and Scripture

Q. I would rather adopt a system that does not claim to be perfect, that has the capacity to change than submitting my moral compass to rigid immovable systems such as religion.

A. This is a misunderstanding of actual religion. For example in the scripture Mahabharata we find Krishna teaching the following essential moral principle:

“It is difficult to grasp the highest understanding [of morality]. One ascertains it by reasoning. Now there are many people who simply claim ‘morality is scripture.’ Though I don’t oppose that view, scriptures do not give rules for every case.”

He then goes on to say,

“Morality is taught for the progress of living beings. Morality [dharma] derives from the act of sustaining [dharana]. Thus authorities say that morality [dharma] is that which sustains living beings. The conclusion is that whatever sustains is actually dharma.”

Thus Krishna teaches that moral principles are to be determined in a dynamic that includes reason and revelation. Revelation may be divine or it may arguably derive from science as well. In either case it must be reasoned about in order to determine the moral good of the hour.

Sam Harris makes some good points but his overall argument suffers from his misunderstanding of religion and the attempt to quantify that which is not quantifiable. It is objective to the extreme, and we are at least 50% subjective and arguably more so.

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